New Year’s is one of the drunkest eves of the year, and just about every conscious human is aware of this fact. So why go gently into that long night knowing that when you come out the other side, it’s going to be with a splitting headache and a stomach that feels like it just went ten rounds against Floyd Mayweather?
There’s no shortage of mythical hangover cures and miracle fixes (the Hair of the Dog is fun… but probably not legit helpful) which will ensure you’re as fresh as a daisy come 1-1-2018, but most of them are just that — myths. Use the following tips as a guideline to mitigate the possibility of a hangover, and if you suffer from one, use them to get rid of it and move on with your life in the new year.
Some of these will be obvious, some not. A few may seem a little weird (or illegal depending on which state you live in). all are proven to work.
Water. All Kinds of Water
We’ll hammer home the fact that you should be matching every boozy drink with a glass of water multiple times through this highly-informational and extremely important article, but also keep in mind that you can crack open a nice, fresh La Croix/Polar/Perrier at any time. This breaks up the monotony of having “flat water” next to your delicious cocktail, and just like real water, it’ll help you urinate. Which is a very important thing on New Year’s Eve. We’ll get to that later.
Sipping a nice fizz is great on New Year’s Day too, when you’re desperate to settle your stomach. You know how sick kids sip on ginger ale and crackers? That ginger ale has life-giving properties, we understand, but it’s also full of sugar. The bubbles in sparkling water will help settle your stomach and get you back on your feet.
There have also been studies (by Pedialyte) that highlight Pedialyte or Gatorade as great hangover drinks. Gatorade has a ridiculous amount of sugar which won’t work for some, but Pedialyte’s potassium and sodium contents will hydrate you and get you out of bed.
Some say the spicy food hangover is only going to make matters worse, others swear by it. The only 100 percent reliable piece of information in this equation is that you should eat. Whatever you do, don’t let alcohol be the only thing in your grumbling stomach come 4pm New Year’s Day. You know your tastes, you know your body. Start your diet on Jan 2.
Eat something that will settle your stomach, be it some chicken nuggets or chicken soup or chicken tikka masala. If you’re anywhere in Cali or the Southwest, you’re not even going to think about this: You’re going with a burrito. If you’re elsewhere, here are a few other good ideas:
- Beans – So you can replenish your calcium and vitamin B.
- Bread – Some say it’s a myth, but the carbs can soak up the alcohol and fill your stomach with something other than what’s making you feel awful. Carbs also help balance your blood sugar.
- Sweet potatoes – Just like the beans.
- Eggs – More B vitamins! And the yolk will replenish your D vitamins which might be low in the winter depending on your location.
In other words, use the above to make yourself a fantastic bean and egg wrap, or sandwich with some sweet potatoes (and bacon?) and you’re basically ready to take on the world. But it’s valuable to remember that you should be eating food that’s good for you. The greasy, fat breakfast might work for some, but the entire point of eating food is for their nutrients. Don’t take the hangover meal advice of some college kid with a metabolism of a cheetah on amphetamines — eat well, be well.
If you’re dead set on using an incoming hangover as a reason to get an unhealthy, greasy meal then take the advice of Telegraph, which states that a greasy meal before you drink. The food will actually slow down the absorption rate of the alcohol so you’ll get drunk slower and become less likely to think about placing that lampshade on your head.
A vitamin Cocktail
This takes some forethought. Not only should you begin your evening with a pre-game of a vitamin cocktail, but you should make sure you have another collection of the following pills to down on New Year’s Day. Everything we’ve mentioned above comes into play here:
- Turmeric – Because it’s an anti-inflammatory and alcohol is an inflammatory.
- Ginger – For settling the stomach.
- Cinnamon – To regulate the blood sugar.
- And most importantly Vitamin C and B-complex – Alcohol burns this all away, replace it.
These will get you back on your feet with a healthy mixture of anti-inflammatories, stomach settlers, digestive help, and blood-sugar regulators. Alcohol breaks down B vitamins, so preparing your body for the assault on its B vitamins and then having the cavalry ready the next day will ensure a peaceful, hangover-free transition into 2018.
Make sure to take these with some hearty food and a lot of water.
Pop An Aspirin Or Ibuprofen Before Bed
This one falls slightly into the “myth” category, but it’s always worked for your humble author. Here’s the scientific train of thought: Alcohol inflames both the brain and the liver, while aspirin and Ibuprofen are anti-inflammatories. If you use this in moderation, you’ll, at the very least, mitigate the aches and pains that come along with stumbling into a wall or drilling your hip into a table as you run to hug your new best friend.
Just remember this important piece of information from Healthline: Ibuprofen and aspirin don’t mix. You’re likely not going to die or anything if you take them together, but if you take these pills too often, it can cause stomach bleeding, and taking them together on an already upset stomach (possibly without food) is going to suck.
Take your recovery pills in moderation, don’t mix them, and complement them with the other helpful tips here.
Scientists at from Thomas Jefferson University have been trying to solve the hangover problem for a few years now, and have used caffeine to negate the effects of a hangover in lab mice. Researcher Michael L. Oshinsky told MSNBC that coffee plus aspirin will ease your hangover symptoms. Or, you can simply use Excedrin, which has caffeine in the painkiller. Two hungover birds, one pill.
Yes, you’ll be urinating quite a bit during your fun little evening, but no matter how much you’re relieving yourself, you should be doing it more. One of the ways to avoid a hangover is to get alcohol out of your system, and a premier method of that is through peeing.
A nice bit of synchronicity: Bars are spreading the joys of the shrub cocktail, which has water and delicious fruit-vinegar as a base. Drinking those will mitigate dehydration and you’ll get a lot of “what’s that?” questions that can drive the conversation while you wait for the ball to drop.
Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
A report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggests that hangover symptoms are worse for cigarette smokers that drink the same amount of alcohol as non-smokers. Whether “hangover symptoms” include that heavy feeling in your chest or burning throat after a night of heavy smoking isn’t clear, but nicotine is a stimulant and you’re likely to overdo it if you’re puffing on cigarettes between shots instead of sipping on water. Plus it’s just bad for you in general.
It’s not for everyone, and it shouldn’t be used if you need to get up and clear your head before a holiday shift on New Year’s Day, but even a small amount of marijuana can settle your stomach and get your appetite going so you can choke down your food and get on your way. Science has even shown that marijuana can help your REM sleep, which is another critical factor of the hangover. You need your rest, you need your stomach settled, Dr. Mary Jane is here to help out.
And hey — it’s Anthony Bourdain’s favorite way to recover, so it’s gotta be true.
Get Up And Move Around. Exercise
The last thing most normal humans want to do when their head feels like a used anvil and they smell like death is be active, but that’s exactly what you should do. Recovery Village states that there’s truth to sweating out (and even breathing out) alcohol, which is how eight percent of booze leaves your system. So go for a pleasant walk with your dog that’s been lonely since the night before. Break a sweat, hydrate, and get your blood pumping. Olympian Nick Symmonds told Runner’s World: “I find that exercise is the best recovery.” That’s coming from an athlete, but there’s truth to this.
There’s no evidence which states that maintaining a low heart rate and moving only 20 feet over eight hours is good for your hangover. In fact, that’s not good for you period. Suck it up, and work it off. Scoop up some fresh snow while you’re outside to get some sweet, sweet H20 in your system if you must, or just stay inside and do some yoga in front of the TV.
Avoid Hangover Cure Information That Doesn’t Apply To You
There’s no shortage of hangover cure-alls out there, but not all of them may apply to you. If our hangover cures from bartenders helped you out in the past, more power to you, but bartenders are basically professional drinkers, and many of them suggest following up a night of drinking with more drinking. That’s not going to work for everyone. In fact, if your body isn’t used to recovering from alcohol, the last thing it needs is more alcohol when it’s weak and beat up after a night of abuse.
As Michael Slezak points out in his website based on bad science and science journalism — the entire premise of the Hair of the Dog myth is replacing alcohol metabolites with more alcohol so you feel better. How that eventually won’t give you another hangover, or just slow your day down to a crawl, isn’t cited in any worthy medical journal. Champions of the HoD hangover cure believe it works, but in theory, you need to just constantly stay drunk in order for it to be effective.
Like anything in life, take a moment, think about what will jive with your body, and move forward with what you’re comfortable with before you move onto the next step.
Your body is relatively unique, so is your tolerance for alcohol, pain, going to work on January 2nd. Maybe — after all these warnings — some Hair of the Dog does work for you? Maybe you’re at your best after a heavy night of drinking when you suck down the spiciest Bloody Mary known to man. Go ahead and poke away and take a little from the massive amount of information available to you, but keep in mind that everything in here has helped out someone’s hangover at some point.
Wanna try out activated charcoal tabs? It could work for you. But remember when experimenting that there are preventions and cures. This article has both, and some claim that one of the low-key best ways to prevent a hangover is by taking an activated charcoal tab. They’re proven to help with bloating, digestion, and have legions of drinkers saying they ward off alcohol’s poisonous attributes. The good stuff. The science is still out on charcoal, however. Human Toxicology found that alcohol levels remained the same for people with and without charcoal in their system. Placebo? Maybe.
If you want to try activated charcoal remember a few things:
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water with the tabs (this goes along with your 1-1 water-to-booze ratio so that works out).
- Don’t take your vitamin cocktail (above) with them. Charcoal binds to nutrients so wait at least an hour or your vitamins are pointless.
- There are conflicting reports on the benefits of charcoal, but most agree that the charcoal blocks the sugary badness in certain cocktails, not so much the alcohol. Keep in mind that it’s the sugar that can lead to the worst hangovers.
And if you’re excited about getting vitamins from a Bloody Mary and a burrito, good for you! Just understand there’s a difference between keeping the party going and curing a hangover, and it’s easier to pop some vitamins than spend more money for delivery or god forbid — actually getting ready and going out with a hangover.
Don’t Get Hit In The Head With A Cork From A Champagne Bottle
This is self-explanatory and will only be painful on multiple levels. Don’t point the champagne bottle at anyone when you pop it, don’t put your head in the general vicinity of the cork’s path of trajection, and you’ll make it out of this. Scientists have done the work and we know that there’s nearly 60 pounds of pressure in every pop of the cork, so clear your path and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t look down the barrel of a bottle of bubbly.
Don’t Overdo It
And finally, the best possible way to get a hangover is to not overdo it. You don’t have to drink so much, so fast that the night turns into a slurred version of Memento, only with more sparkling wine. Consider that, and be safe this New Year’s Eve.